Saturday, 31 July 2010

Brighton Police - Stopping People Having Fun Since May 1964


Sussex Police have warned they will be cracking down on those planning unauthorised and illegal outdoor events in Brighton and Hove during the Pride weekend next month.
Chief Inspector Laurence Taylor, in charge of neighbourhood policing in the city, said: “If we can get early notification we have a far better chance of preventing ‘raves’ from starting. We need residents and land owners to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately."

The police need to know of:

· Any information that an illegal rave is to take place
· Any sightings of lorries or large numbers of vehicles gathering on the beach, in woodlands, parks or rural car parks.
· Sightings of fliers advertising raves.
· Broken padlocks on access gates, to areas where a rave may take place.
· Groups of grumpy-looking men dressed in blue, wearing funny hats

Police will look to prosecute any one involved.

To report information to Sussex Police call GHOS TB US TERS.

Alternatively, you could try lightening up - it only happens once a year.

Anne Rice: Hallelujah!


"For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being "Christian" or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to "belong" to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten ...years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

Anne Rice, pictured above with her son Christopher, gives up the holy ghost, via her Facebook page.

Joe McElderry: Oh. Yes, I Am


It's always the ones you most expect.
Joe McElderry actually is gay!
Who knew?!!
Erm, everyone but him it seems.
On July 8th The Sun reported; "X FACTOR champ Joe McElderry was the victim of pranksters who hacked into his Twitter page and announced he was GAY."
"The post said: "It's been difficult living a lie for so many years."
"Later it was deleted and Joe, 19, wrote: "Guys my twitter has been hacked!"
"Joe has told The Sun he is "straight and single"."
Which must have made many titter.
Today The Sun reports; "Joe: Gossip on Twitter Made Me Decide To Come Out.'
"JOE McELDERRY told last night how gossip on the social networking website Twitter persuaded him to come out as gay.
"The X Factor champ, who hit No1 with his single The Climb, was targeted by hackers who broke into his account and "outed" him for a joke.
"A post read: "It's been difficult living a lie for so many years."
"But as the shock subsided, proud Joe admitted the message made him realise his true feelings."
Really? Fagburn always has some reservations about these "Pop star comes out" ("So brave..." etc etc) stories in the tabloids.
Mainly because - as happened with Stephen Gately and Will Young - the main factor in forcing them out was that they'd been told by the tabloid they were about to be outed.
Joe mentions to The Sun; "I kissed one boy last year" - did that "one boy" kiss and tell?
Young Joe McElderry sounds sincere - and this story, though odd, doesn't sound improbable; a lot of people had presumed he was gay, but Joe was in a kind of denial until that tweet got him wondering if he was.
He told The Sun: "...after a while I looked at the message and thought, 'Well, they're not that far from the truth'.
"I think the Twitter thing was the point when I realised I was gay. I just looked at it and thought, 'Should I be more bothered about this'?
"Because I wasn't, that's when it clicked and I thought maybe I was. It was a turning point, definitely."
"Geordie Joe, 19, added in the garden of his West London flat: "I was doing an interview recently and I was asked the same questions I always get asked, 'Are you single? Have you got a girlfriend'?
"Before I've always said no. I was not attracted to anyone at the time so thought it was a fair answer.
"Then I thought, 'Actually, my feelings have changed - this is how I feel now'. The penny has dropped.""
But The Daily Mirror prints exactly the same The Sun quotes as a rather bizarrely titled 'Joe McElderry: I'm gay - X Factor winner comes out in Daily Mirror interview' and a
3am Exclusive'.
But they give it a rather sweet and ever so modern twist.
"Joe McElderry reveals that he's gay (which is slightly gutting, as we think we just fell a little bit in love with him)"
"...We don't think he'll have huge problems there, do you? We just hope that his adoring girly fanbase can cope with the fact that their heartthrob might have to be their imaginary gay best friend rather than their imaginary boyfriend from now on..."
Bless.
Fagburn wonders if there may be more to come on Joe's "coming out" story...

Friday, 30 July 2010

Matthew Mitcham: And Tonight Matthew's Going To Be...


An article appeared on Guardian Online earlier this evening; 'Gay Games in Cologne set to welcome 10,000 competitors'.
"Around 10,000 gay and lesbian athletes from around the globe are expected to descend on the western German city of Cologne tomorrow to participate in the international Gay Games," Kate Connolly reports.
She also tells us; "The Australian Olympic gymnast Matthew Mitcham, who won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and is one of the few major athletes to have ever come out, will open the event."
Matthew Mitcham is not a gymnast, he's a diver.
Everybody makes mistakes - Fagburn probably does it on a daily basis - but considering the article's subject matter and seeing as Matthew is indeed one of the few major athletes to have ever come out - and went on to win an Olympic gold medal winner to boot - it's pretty insulting to get the sport that he excels at wrong.
Oops.

Clare Balding: "Dyke" Not On Bike - On Warpath


"Some time ago, I made a cheap and frankly unnecessary joke about Clare Balding looking like a big lesbian. And afterwards somebody tugged my sleeve to point out that she is a big lesbian, and I felt foolish and guilty. So I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise. Sorry.
"Now back to the dyke on a bike, puffing up the nooks and crannies at the bottom end of the nation..." AA Gill wrote in The Sunday Times last week.
The feminist blog, the f word, reports that Clare Balding complained to the editor, John Witherow, and received the following reply.
"In my view some members of the gay community need to stop regarding themselves as having a special victim status and behave like any other sensible group that is accepted by society. Not having a privileged status means, of course, one must accept occasionally being the butt of jokes. A person’’s sexuality should not give them a protected status. Jeremy Clarkson, perhaps the epitome of the heterosexual male, is constantly jeered at for his dress sense (lack of), adolescent mind-set and hair style. He puts up with it as a presenter’s lot and in this context I hardly think that AA Gill’’s remarks were particularly “cruel”, especially as he ended by so warmly endorsing you as a presenter."
Fagburn can imagine a PS to this letter reading; "Lighten up love - can't you people take a joke?"
Balding has replied; "When the day comes that people stop resigning from high office, being disowned by their families, getting beaten up and in some instances committing suicide because of their sexuality, you may have a point.
"This is not about me putting up with having the piss taken out of me, something I have been quite able to withstand, it is about you legitimising name calling. ‘Dyke’ is not shouted out in school playgrounds (or as I’ve had it at an airport) as a compliment, believe me.
"It may be your job to defend your writer and your editorial team but if you really think that homophobia does not exist and was not demonstrated beyond being ‘the butt of a joke’ then we have a problem."
Earlier today Balding tweeted that she has reported The Sunday Times to the Press Complaints Commission; "Complaint now registered. There's a first time for everything so here goes."
Good for her.
For the record, Fagburn wuld like to point out that AA Gill is "a friend of Jeremy"
Yes, Jeremy Clarkson.
I can think of no more damning description.

Rev Alex Brown: Naughty Gay Vicar Caught Acting Like A Christian


For The Daily Mail this story must have looked like a marriage made in heaven.
'Do you take this complete stranger? Vicar facing prison for conducting 360 illegal migrant marriages in Sussex church.'
No wonder they gave over most of today's front page to it.
"A Church of England vicar was found guilty yesterday of carrying out the biggest fake wedding scam Britain has ever seen.
"The Reverend Alex Brown abused his position to marry 360 illegal immigrants to complete strangers.
"Armed with a marriage certificate, the immigrants were then able to hoodwink the Home Office into giving them a visa to stay in Britain as a 'spouse', with access to education, healthcare and benefits.
"At his Victorian parish church in the seaside town of St Leonards, East Sussex, Brown married up to eight couples a day between 2005 and 2009, a court heard."
Dear oh dear, eh? Immigrants bending the rules to stay in the UK - they could even claim benefits in theory! - and it was a small town vicar who aided and abetted them.
Whatever next?
"The three defendants denied conspiracy to breach immigration laws, but they were found guilty by a jury at Lewes Crown Court after a sevenweek trial.
"Brown, who is openly gay, also became the only vicar in 800 years to be convicted of failing to read out the banns - asking the congregation if they knew of 'any just cause or impediment' why two people may not marry."
Hang on - the vicar's gay!!?
Surprisingly, that's the only mention of this that's made in the main story.
We get a bit more in a background piece; 'Eight couples every Sunday at marriage factory for migrants.'
"Brown lived with his long-term partner in the St Peter's Church vicarage.
"Ordained in 1983, he had been parish priest since 1991, and retired just before being arrested in June 2009.
"One elderly neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: 'Rev Brown is a dear friend of mine. We have been neighbours for 20 years and he was absolutely brilliant when my husband died, a real rock.
"'Everyone knew he was gay. He and his partner have been together for years and they are both really nice people. You could just go over and knock on his door and he'd invite you in for a cup of tea and a chat.'"
The Daily Express didn't mention that he was gay or lived with his male partner in their coverage.
Nor did The Sun, The Daily Mirror or The Daily Star.
What's wrong with the tabloids today?
"Gay vicar behind mass immigrants weddings sham" - it was an open bloody goal!
The Independent said there was no evidence he had benefitted financially; "He was approaching retirement, and the only evidence of any money acquired through the scam was when officers raided his home and found £5,000 in cash.
"Police are perplexed by his motives. Under interrogation and in court he simply said he was doing his job. If there was a sudden increase in couples wanting to get married, he said, his job was to marry them."
Maybe he thought this was the Christian thing to do?
According to The Guardian; "If he was motivated by a social conscience and a belief that asylum seekers who had lost their cases deserved a chance to stay in the country, and that immigration law, as he put it in his police interview, "was an ass", then he did not make this case in court.
"Instead, Brown pleaded ignorance and extraordinary naivety, an argument many of his parishioners continue to believe. "If anything, he's possibly been a bit silly, a bit naive. I find it hard to believe he's deliberately set out to make money," said one local man who knew him well. "He might be gullible but that is the most he's guilty of.""
The Times gave readers 'Profile: Rev Alex Brown, the sham marriage vicar', where he comes across as a decent and caring man; "By 1982 he was ordained a priest and began work at St Alban’s Church in Crawley. Nine years later he moved to the Church of St Peter and St Paul in the Bohemia Village area of St Leonards.
"Finding its adherence to high Anglican ideals “stuffy and cliquey”, Brown, who is openly gay, took a more modern approach that saw him work with drug addicts and the homeless, making him a popular vicar with his congregation."
But there's always a "but" in these stories.
"But in recent years Brown became a regular at two of the town’s local pubs and was seen regularly by neighbours drinking with his boyfriend in his back garden at the rectory.
"Few in the parish have a harsh word to say about him. One elderly parishioner, who did not want to be named, said he was a “lovely man”.
“He buried my husband and after that would always check up on me,” she said. “He said his door was always open. You couldn’t meet a more committed priest.”
Yesterday, the judge adjourned sentencing until September, and released Alex Brown on conditional bail.

Bradley Manning: True Heroism Merits No Punishment


Fagburn was a little surprised that The Sun has been the only British newspaper that mentioned Bradley Manning - "the main suspect in the WikiLeaks documents scandal [and] a "trouble-making, authority-hating computer geek" who grew up in Wales" is also gay.
A golden opportunity for some sub-Freudian musing about queer treachery was sadly missed - they only mentioned it in passing.
Maybe one of the Sunday papers will draw a wobbly line from Manning to John Vassall and Blunt and Burgess and the Homintern?
Was Manning's sexuality incidental to this case?
Possibly not.
There has been some speculation in US media that the leaks were Manning's revenge on the US military for discharging him because he was gay, and had broken its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The fact that he's gay seems to have come from his Facebook profile, where he is out, it also has photos of him at various gay rights protests.
Adrian Lamo, the former computer hacker who corresponded with Manning and turned him over to the authorities, was asked by The New York Times "to specify what he saw as Specialist Manning’s motives.
Manning had been out in their communications - and mentioned his boyfriend.
Lamo replied obliquely, though perhaps tellingly; “Ideology. I think he was dissatisfied with certain military policies and he wanted to adversely affect U.S. foreign policy.” Mr. Lamo would not provide more details. “It’s a personal matter for him, and I do not think it was one his family would want aired in the national media.”
The tech blog BoingBoing has read into some online messages from Manning that he identifies as trans - though the evidence for this is weak.
The story that he had hidden the data on a burned Lady Gaga CDR is however apparently true.
Manning, a 22 year-old US Army intelligence analyst, has had two misconduct charges brought against him for "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system" and "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source".
He is accused of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video of an airstrike in Baghdad (available here) that shows a group of men walking down the street before being repeatedly shot by Apache helicopters.
Manning has also been accused of leaking a video of another airstrike in Afghanistan and thousands of diplomatic cables to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.
Investigative journalists Nick Davies and David Leigh write at length about the leaked "Afghanistan War Logs" for The Guardian website here.
Manning has just been returned to Virginia, USA from Kuwait - if convicted he could face over 50 years imprisonment.
The website for the Bradley Manning Support Network - "Because true heroism merits no punishment" - is www.bradleymanning.org

UPDATE: On July 30th the Daily Telegraph profiled Bradley Manning, describing him as "openly homosexual" and reprint "gloomy postings" from his Facebook page; "His tagline on his personal page reads: "Take me for who I am, or face the consequences!"
"...Pictures on Mr Manning's Facebook page include photos of him on school trips during his time in Wales and at a gay rights rally, where he is holding up a placard demanding equality on "the battlefield".'
On August 1st, at the end of a profile of Manning - FBI question WikiLeaks mother at Welsh home - The Mail quote an old schoolfriend; "‘He was different from other kids. He was interested in girls but he could never really get them to be interested in him. When he was 13, he told me he was gay.’"
No other mention of it is made, but they also publish a photo of Manning being cuddled by "his friend Tyler Watkins" which they say is from his Facebook page.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Jerusalem Pride: Donkey Pride


"Jerusalem police on Wednesday evening rejected a request from Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus to hold a “donkey parade” alongside the city’s annual Gay Pride parade, which is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday," The Jerusalem Post reports today.
Rabbi Yitzhak Pindrus of the United Torah Judaism party "had hoped to greet parade participants with the animals to represent what he terms the “bestial” nature of the pride march, police offered the deputy mayor a compromise of carrying cardboard cut-outs of donkeys during his group’s counterprotest. Pindrus accepted."
During the 2005 Jerusalem Pride march, Yishai Schlissel, a member of the ultra Orthodox haredi community, stabbed three participants with a knife.
Alongside the murder of two people at a Tel Aviv gay centre last year, it helped cement Israel's image as "an oasis of tolerance and acceptance in a region of virulent homophobia", as Pink News called it last month.
And as you can see from the illustration, donkeys, political protest, religious leaders and Jerusalem go way back.

Elton John: Rush 4 Elton 4EVAH!


Elton John played a gig in Arizona last Thursday, despite calls for a boycott of the state over the racist SB 1070 anti-immigrant law.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, John told the crowd of 8,800: "We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won't come here. They are (expletive) wits! Let's face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what's the (expletive) with these people?"
Elton John played Israel in June, despite calls for a boycott of the racist state following the Gaza flotilla massacre.
According to The Jerusalem Post, John told the crowd; "Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain't nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby... Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That's what we do. We don't cherry-pick our conscience."
Elton John played Rush Limbaugh's wedding earlier that month.
The right-wing bigoted big mouth reportedly paid Mr John $1 million.
Here's Rush on his radio show on Elton today.
"Elton John, of course, came out yesterday and said, "Hey, yeah, I'll play Arizona." He was in Tucson. He got on all these other people that don't, these other musicians. He played Israel during the flotilla controversy. Of course it had to be mentioned in the story that Elton John played my wedding reception, and they also pointed out that Elton John, even though I am "vehemently anti-gay marriage and Elton John is married." He's not."
"Elton John is not married to David Furnish, and Elton John is not a supporter of gay marriage. Elton John is on the same page as I am, as is Obama on gay marriage. He's for civil unions, but he's not for marriage. We got a nice card from him yesterday. I scanned it. He sent it from Los Angeles. He sent it on the 24th and we got it yesterday. It's just a beautiful card, and some of the things he wrote... He knows me, Elton John. After the time we spent together this past year, he knows me better than some people who have known me for decades. It really was beautifully written, a very nice card..."
Is there any gig Elton John wouldn't play?
What the (expletive) is wrong with this guy?

Brokeback Coalition: There's Always One Who Goes Too Far...


Today's cartoon from The Independent by Dave Brown.
Fagburn has to confess he's not 100% sure what it's meant to be saying.
Answers on a Donald McGill postcard, please...

Pink News: Pink Press Threat!


Pink News founder Benjamin Cohen talks to Press Gazette about the future of the gay news website.
He says it has only one full-time staff member - which was pretty obvious - costs £30,000 a year to run, and makes "a tidy profit".
"Pink News will face a series of changes in the next six months, Cohen says, which will include a relaunch and could involve a change to the ownership structure.
"Cohen says he had just begun “exploring the market” and considering a range of options for the development of Pink News; including selling the site, raising capital to buy another publication or a merger."
Hmm...
Fagburn offers Pink News some business advice for free, gratis - Pink News has become a joke, so concentrate on making it better, a lot better.
Stop insulting your readers; write and run actual news stories, not reprinted press releases and wire stories.
It's not rocket lettuce.

Tim Teeman: A Class Apart

A textbook piece of gay snobbery by Tim Teeman in The Times today, No Cause For Pride.
Many years ago a young Mr Teeman was editor of The Pink Paper, colleagues found him so hilariously posh he reminded them of a character from an Enid Blyton book.
Hence his nickname "Timmy Teacakes".
He's recently witnessed Pride in his new home, New York.
And guess what?
That's right - it's just not like it was in the old days.
"Well, New York Pride was colourful, loud and smiley, but as ruthlessly corporate as a careers fair. People whistled, boogied on floats, waved rainbow flags but to what end? To fight for our right to dance to house music in the streets? Its witless hedonism was a thousand depressing miles from the Stonewall riots. We’re quick to blame bigots for obstructing gay rights, but what of those gays who, lulled by token characters in soaps and other glimmers of change, rolled over and went shopping? They tut and kvetch about nasty rightwingers, but ignore a sadder truth — gays have willingly overseen the removal of pride from Pride."
Like I said, it's a textbook example of the sort of toffee-nosed pseudo-radicalism peddled by Tim and his fellow ex-public school boys from the "anti-gay" brigade.
What side do you think someone like Timmy Teacakes would have actually been on during the Stonewall Riots?
When he says he thinks Pride's got "corporate" (as opposed to that well known workers' co-operative Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation), he means he thinks it's got terribly commercial, but then it's all so horribly brash and vulgar and common anyway.
But what do you expect? It's full of ordinary gay men, and Tim thinks they're their own worst enemy.
Well, they're are all so "witless", aren't they?
Just look at the silly buggers, too busy tutting and whistling and blaming "nasty" right-wingers and trying to have fun.
Fun? Yuk!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Dolce & Gabbana: La Dolce Vita


Even more thrilling footyball news!
Fagburn reads that "Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian designer label, has signed a three-year fashion partnership with Chelsea Football Club.
"The style deal means we can expect to see the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole out on the town in exclusive, dark blue, three-piece suits, with matching shirts and ties, designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana."
But could this new partnership lead to the Chelsea boys posing for ads like the one above, part of Dolce & Gabbana's recent World Cup underwear campaign starring a number of prominent members of the Italian football team?
There's a pun in there somewhere.

Jan Moir: The Unspeakable In Pursuit of the Uneatable?


The Daily Mail's homophobic windbag Jan Moir reviews Heather Mills' vegan restaurant in Hove.
Pass the sickbag, Alice...

Sport: Fantasy Football


Strange that few newspapers ran with the newswire story and mini-interview Reuters released yesterday; "A new generation of British soccer fans would be tolerant about professional footballers admitting they were homosexual, according to an online survey conducted by Staffordshire University in England.
The straight press tend to be fascinated by this subject, even though most gay men find sport really boring.
Or maybe that incongruity's the point?
Professor Ellis Cashmore told Reuters; "The big surprise was that we got what I suppose you'd call a counter-intuitive response and that was that 93 percent said they felt there was no place for homophobia in football and it should be stomped out and they felt that it brought shame on football."
The survey and the results so far can be found on the website www.topfan.co.uk
The main findings are:

• 93% of fans think there is no place for homophobia in football
• 7% think that football is no place for gays
• 60% want gay players to “be brave” and come out, but …
• 40% don’t want gay players to come out, mainly because it’s a private matter and straight players don’t have to declare their sexual preferences
• 90%+ think the only thing that matters in football is how the player plays... not his sexual preferences

But the survey was completed by just 2,000 people, mainly following links put up by several club's fansites, so there could be a bias to people who are the most homo-friendly.
Fagburn has emailed Cashmore some questions about the survey which will be posted when I get a reply [See comments below].
Cashmore makes some interesting points in an interview with topfan.co.uk's Jamie Cleland in the Results section of topfan.co.uk, positing that the main problem is the fear of a negative reaction in the media.
"I conducted research on black players in the early 1980s, so I remember the situation very clearly. Fans abused black players with racist chanting, monkey noises and pelted them with bananas. I actually interviewed the late Justin Fashanu before he came out. He had to put up with enough racial abuse in the 1980s: the last thing he needed was more. So when he came out, he feared the worst. But in fact the worst abuse arguably came from the media.
"... fans blame the media for keeping gay players in the closet, so to speak. Many think the response of personnel at the club would probably be supportive, though by no means all fans thought other players would accept gay teammates. Some thought other players would turn sharply against them. Some thought managers would transfer them."
The Daily Star is the only national newspaper to run anything on the survey today, with a news item; 'Gay Premier League Players Told: Come Out!' - a titular bit of titillation which presumably is meant to make readers think they're going to drop hints about which players are gay.
Perhaps more surprisingly, The Star also ran a supportive leader; 'Gay Taboo Is Just So Out'

"Football has changed.
We are a far cry from the days of gay hate on the terraces.
Everybody knows there are homosexual players in our game.
But, even today, not one of them will admit it.
They would rather lie and pretend.
A major new study of fans has revealed this next generation want footballers to come clean.
They want honesty from their sporting idols.
Yes, there are still isolated incidents of hate.
But the vast majority of modern supporters would not bat an eyelid.
There is nothing to fear.
We have openly gay people in every other walk of life nowadays.
Football must now catch up with the real world.
It is time for talented gay stars to break this last taboo.
And finally stand proud for who they really are."

Blimey.
Only a real spoilsport would ask how much the Daily Star has contributed to gay footballers still seeking the sanctuary of the closet.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Transphobia: Ooh, You Are Awful!


At the time of typing the second most viewed story on The Daily Telegraph's website this week has been; "Transvestite had sex with a dog at English Heritage castle".
"The cross-dressing man was caught with the animal in the dry moat of King Henry VIII's Pendennis Castle overlooking Falmouth Bay in Cornwall.
"The 33-year-old mounted the pet after it chased him out of sight of its woman owner.
"The owner had been walking around the ancient castle with a friend when the pair spotted the lone transvestite on the morning of Saturday July 10th at around a quarter to twelve.
"He was wearing a black dress and walking around the steep-walled, empty moat."
It's one of those bizarro news stories that went viral. Several people sent me links to it - you may have had them too.
Heading up the Yahoo homepage this evening is this news story; "Cross-dressing robber makes big error".
"A cross-dressing robber with fake breasts and a blonde wig has been arrested by police because he failed to shave off his beard.
"...[Police] officers have labelled Dennis Hawkins the "dumbest" after his alleged raid on a bank in Pennsylvania."
Many newspaper websites have a separate "news" section called something like "Weird World" - the stories are there as a bit of light relief from all the real news about war, unemployment and oil spill disasters.
Both of the above mentioned stories are certainly weird - it's not the sort of thing you see every day.
But you get the impression that most of their appeal is the belief that there's something inherently weird - and incredibly funny - about a man in a dress.
Transvestism is always a joke, that's why it's such a staple of British comedy.
When a dog bites a man, that is not news.
But if a man bites a dog, that is news.
And if a man in a dress bites a dog, you better hold onto your sides and hold the front page!
Actually, 'man in dress fucks dog' probably wasn't the best example I could have picked to illustrate this.

Westboro Baptist Church: Bender Hates You More


"They've faced down humans time and time again, but Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist Church were not ready for the cosplay action that awaited them today at Comic-Con. After all, who can win against a counter protest that includes robots, magical anime girls, Trekkies, Jedi and...kittens?
"Unbeknownst to the dastardly fanatics of the Westboro Baptist Church, the good folks of San Diego's Comic-Con were prepared for their arrival with their own special brand of superhuman counter protesting chanting "WHAT DO WE WANT" "GAY SEX" "WHEN DO WE WANT IT" "NOW!" while brandishing ironic (and some sincere) signs. Simply stated: The eclectic assembly of nerdom's finest stood and delivered..."
Reports Comics Alliance.
More great photos from the comic fans creative counter protest here.

Drugs: This Is Your Brain On Pink Media


Who was it who said; "You don't need to bribe journalists, most of them will do it for free"?
I'm not sure actually.
I've just Googled it and nothing came up, so I'll happily take credit for the time being.
Anyway, similarly there was no need for the UK Drug Policy Commission to make The Pink Paper media partners of their quite useless but very costly new "report", The Impact of Drugs on Different Minority Groups: A Review of the UK Literature.
If they wanted uncritical coverage and a reprinting of whatever press releases they send them, I'm sure The Pink Paper would have been happy to oblige.
Pink News did - and they're not "media partners".
Luckily some of their readers aren't so happy to be duped - I've reprinted some of their comments below this, they can be read in full here.
Blondie commented; "It seems that everyone here realised how redundant this study is which just leaves me laughing at the irony that the study was also "extremely limited and often of poor quality" [a quote from the UKDMC], not only was it useless but it is so poor its statistics are pretty much worthless, not that I can think of any use for the statistics but it would be the only reason I can think of for doing this study."
Simon asked simply; "Can someone please tell me where bears go to the toilet?"
I'd love to Simon, but I'll need a £34,000 grant from the Home Office first.

Rupert Everett: Who Does She Think She Is?


Rupert Everett was the subject of BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are? last night.
How kind of Rupert to answer the titular question himself.
"I was born in England with a silver spoon in my mouth and went on to develop a whole canteen of cutlery.”
"English... actor... toff... poof..."
Fagburn couldn't have put it better himself.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Lesbians On TV: Is That It?


'It must be a record of sorts. Out of 39 hours of some of the most popular BBC1 shows, just 29 seconds featured lesbians, a study commissioned by the gay charity Stonewall has found. Here's a blow-by-blow account of this quantum of airtime: a homophobic exchange between Eastenders' Roxy, Pat and Bianca; and a "playful" introduction of Jeremy Clarkson by Jonathan Ross in which Ross describes the provocative petrolhead as a man not loved by lesbians. (He got that right. Clarkson repeatedly decries "big, weird dungaree-wearing lesbian parents" or "black lesbian Muslims", while lusting after "the proper ones in stockings that you find on the internet".)'
Jane Czyzselska writing in The Guardian.

Drugs Survey: Thanks For Nothing


You can read the loudly trumpeted UK Drug Policy Commission's report, The Impact of Drugs on Different Minority Groups: A Review of the UK Literature, here.
Who the UKDPC are is explained on their website.
Exactly what the point of the Commission is - besides putting out pointless but costly reports - is unclear.
'Part 2: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups' takes 98 pages to say nothing new.
Its main findings are:

"Illicit drug use among LGBT groups is higher than among their heterosexual counterparts, especially among gay men.
'Recreational' drug use is comparatively high among LGBT groups, so they may use new drugs and experience associated problems before they are widespread in the general population.
LGBT people may be at risk of misusing other groups, such as steroids and Viagra.
Use of some types of drugs may be associated with risky behaviour, including exposure to HIV infection.
The focus on heroin and crack cocaine in the drug strategy means that the drug problems of LGBT groups may not be adequately addressed by current services.
Local partnerships and commissioners need to identify the specific needs of LGBT groups in their future plans...
Services for LGBT people need to be developed in a range of mainstream drug service settings to reach those with drug problems.
The introduction of a kite-mark system for services demonstrating good practice could promote confidence in drug services amongst LGBT groups.
Different approaches to prevention, perhaps focussing on community venues, networks and resources, such as internet sites, using of innovative social media approaches may be more effective at changing drug use behaviour among LGBT groups."

So, in conclusion, they found "'recreational' drug use is comparatively high among LGBT groups" and "[drug] services for LGBT people need to be developed" - maybe they could have a 'kite-mark' and put stuff on that new-fangled internet.
How unbelievably fucking hopeless.
This report cost £34,362.

Israel: That Tel Aviv Gay Vibe!


The Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes that August 1st is the first anniversary of the shooting at a Tel Aviv gay youth centre that left two people dead and 15 others injured.
The killer has not been caught, but many gay Israelis believe it was an anti-gay hate crime.
What a great time to launch a gay tourism drive for the Israeli capital.
"With an investment of NIS 340 million (about $88.1 million) [sic - see comments], an international marketing campaign is being launched to brand Tel Aviv as an international gay vacation destination. The campaign will be run in England and Germany, two locations with considerable gay and lesbian communities", reports Israel YNet News.
The catchy and alluring campaign slogan is; "Tel Aviv Gay Vibe".
"Rising from the golden shores of the Mediterranean, stands one of the most intriguing and exciting new gay capitals of the world – TEL AVIV.
"This dashing piece of gay heaven holds within the perfect combination for a perfect vacation for men and women: gorgeous guys dancing at the hottest clubs, stunningly beautiful women enjoying our pure shores, modern and contemporary art galleries, cutting-edge fashion, local AND international cuisine, history-filled streets hosting the latest urban chic and amazing sunsets, only welcoming a night to remember, in the city that never sleeps.
"With its perfect weather, Tel Aviv invites you to have fun, be free and feel fabulous!"
You couldn't make it up...

Brokeback Coalition: Broken Record


Much musing on the newly-minted metaphor "the Brokeback Coalition" - the touching photomontage above comes from the Mirror.
The Daily Mail reports on the formation of a "Brokeback Club" of disgruntled right-wing Conservative MPs.
"Among the rebels are the Eurosceptics, as well as those who oppose the referendum on Alternative Vote, the rise in Capital Gains Tax and Ken Clarke's decision to jail fewer criminals...
"MPs yesterday dubbed the group 'the Brokeback Club' because they want to 'break the back' of the coalition and force Mr Cameron to fight the next election alone to win an outright majority, rather than as part of a non-aggression pact with the Lib Dems."
How apt that this ragbag of assorted right-wing nutjobs were inspired to come together by a comment (allegedly) made by David Davis in a wine bar called The Boot and Flogger.
It also sounds like an S and M club, which may be apt too.
Fagburn believes that the first comparison of the Cameron and Clegg coalition government to the two gay cowboys was also in The Daily Mail.
It was our old friend Richard Littlejohn way back on May 15th.
Littlejohn initially welcomed it, in an anything-but-Gordon kinda way.
"In this Brokeback Mountain-style love-in, Dave as Heath Ledger and Nick as Jake Gyllenhaal have saddled up for the long haul.
The sight of Cameron and Clegg staring fondly into each other's eyes stands in welcome contrast to the ghastly, self-serving politics of venality, resentment, hatred and mendacity honed and prosecuted by Gordon Brown."
But hang on Dick, wasn't it Jake Gyllenhall's character Jack who seduced Heath Ledger's Ennis?
I seem to remember Heath/Ennis's wife walked out on him in a huff.
And didn't Jake/Jack end up getting beaten to death?
Fagburn wonders how far this metaphor can be stretched?

Lovebox: The Price Is Right


Simon Price's Independent On Sunday review of last Sunday at Lovebox made me regret not going.
With Grace Jones headlining, plus Peaches, Hercules and Love Affair, Hurts and Horse Meat Disco, Simon correctly called it; "a kind of surrogate Pride event."
And it sure made the line-up at this year's Pride London look even more shamefully shitty.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Drugs: Just Say "No Idea"


In The Observer today there is a piece with a scare-mongering scream of a headline; 'Gay men and lesbians are putting their health at risk by abusing drugs.'
That line was almost certainly written by a sub - almost everyone working in the field avoids the term "drug abuse" as it's judgmental and pejorative, but anyway...
"Homosexuals are more than three times more likely to use illicit substances, study reveals", reads the sub-heading.
Well, it doesn't really reveal that. The article is referring to a report by the UK Drug Policy Commission, The Impact of Drugs on Different Minority Groups: A Review of the UK Literature, which, as the name infers, isn't so much a study, but a review of existing literature on the subject, ie actual studies.
The "three times" figure is just an "estimate" mentioned in the British Crime Survey.
What the new report appears to be arguing - it's not published til Monday - is that drug agencies need to think about tailoring their work towards different minority groups.
The article lists three "findings" about gay drug use - all are as obvious as "finding" that rain is wet or fire burns.

" ■ Illicit drug use among LGBT groups is higher than among their heterosexual counterparts
■ LGBT people may also be at risk of misusing other drugs, such as steroids
■ Use of some types of drugs may be associated with risky behaviour, including exposure to HIV infection."

Whodathunkit?!

If you're writing a news feature about any subject, it's always a good idea to talk to one or two experts in the field.
It bumps up the word count and pads it out nicely, for one thing.
You can drop in a few wise words from them, show how opinions may differ and fifteen minutes on the phone to them is often a good way to get a quick crash course in a subject you may know little about.
You can also get them to answer your own queries, fill in the gaps in your knowledge, and if you're amoral, pass off some of their ideas as your own.
When writing about gay issues, the default position for many straight journalists is to speak to Peter Tatchell and/or Stonewall's Ben Summerskill - they give good good quote and their names sound authoritative.
Problem is no-one is an authority on everything, and they get asked about anything, from soap opera to Chinese opera.
The second most popular go-to guys for a gay quote are the editors of gay magazines; surely they must know their pink onions?
The Observer article has been written by Jamie Doward, The Observer's Social Affairs Editor.
It would appear Tatchell and Summerskill were uncharacteristically both unavailable for comment, but Doward does get given a few (unilluminating) lines by Stonewall's press officer, Gary Nunn.
Doward also talks to Tris-Reid Smith, who's billed as "editor-in-chief of the Pink Paper".
It indicates that Doward may not be too au fait with the world of gay that he hasn't mentioned Reid-Smith's main job, editor of GT (Gay Times).
It also indicates that Doward may not be too au fait with the world of gay that he's asking Tris Reid-Smith of all people about gay men and drugs and clubs.
Reid-Smith is such a nerd and so dull and naff he probably thinks putting chocolate sprinkles on his Ovaltine is a bit racy.
He could have done the decent thing and said; "I'm really not the best person to talk to about drugs and clubs, I don't know much about them, you should talk to..."
But vanity prevails - like many journalists he's not going to turn down an opportunity to see his name in print - and he proceeds to spout forth nonsense.
Asked why lesbians and gay men "appear to be heavier drug users than heterosexuals", Reid Smith admits he doesn't have a clue; "Nobody can know and we're just guessing. Relatively little research has been done on this subject."
And why does he think "the LGBT community tend to be early users of new drugs"? He proffers; "We tend to be early adopters of technology; maybe we are early adopters of other things too."
Maybe indeed.
But wait - there's more! "Gay people in their day-to-day lives, working in regular offices, have very little access to gay lifestyle other than in evenings, which are focused around bars and clubs – and clubbers are more likely to take drugs."
Well, It's certainly something to think about.
Presumably by now emboldened, Tris even suggests a solution to the evil scourge of gay drug "abuse"; 'He suggested a flourishing gay sports community could offer clues. "If those kind of healthy alternatives to the bar and club scene were more available, we would see fewer gay and lesbian people drinking, smoking and drug-taking. People would have another outlet."
So that's a "Just say no", then?
Next time Tristram, why not just say; "I don't know".

Rod Liddle: "As crushingly dull as Brian Paddick, as duplicitous as Mandelson"


Rod Liddle replies - one presumes - to Andrew Pierce's piece about how he "abhors these TV queens" in The Daily Mail this week.

"Homosexuals are tired of being portrayed on television as sexually obsessed, hilariously narcissistic, outrageously dressed queens each carrying a boxed set of Abba CDs — ie, Clary, Norton, Carr and so on.
They want a bit more realism, believing that this sort of stereotypical depiction is hardly better than the Black and White Minstrels, or Al Jolson. Well, maybe. But be careful what you wish for. Inaccurate it may well be, but at least it has been an agreeable stereotype which has probably advanced the cause of homosexual equality.
If we suddenly discover that gay people aren’t always the life and soul of every party but can be as crushingly dull as Brian Paddick, or as duplicitous as Mandelson, then even more bed and breakfast institutions might refuse them entry (“refuse them entry — ooh missus!” etc).
They should talk to the Irish, who know the value of good PR; the whole of Europe loves the Irish for being ineffably good-natured, top o’ the mornin’, fiddle-de-dee, live-and-let-live free spirits, rather than grey-skinned, marsh-dwelling gingers with an insuperable sense of grievance. The truth is somewhere between the two, as it always is.
Stick with the image, boys."

200 words on "the gays" without lapsing into bigotry.
Congratulations would be in order if Fagburn didn't feel the whole point of the piece was really Rod Liddle bitching about Andrew Pierce.
And Brian Paddick.
And Peter Mandelson.
Manbags at dawn!

Afghanistan: Guns and Roses


"Thursday nights were jokily referred to by the Isaf forces as “man-love Thursday”, the evening of seduction before Friday prayers when certain of the policemen resembled a gaggle of teenage girls preparing for a night on the town: hands dyed deep orange with henna, nails painted, sooty kohl-darkened eyes and brows. They would slow-dance with each other to music from tinny cassettes or played on an improvised sitar-like instrument, its notes drifting on the air from their quarters, mingled with the smell of spliff.
All the feminine primping and suggestive body language could make their police outposts sound like a sleazy, cut-price Marrakesh — but only if you don’t mind the smell and the nearness of death that makes even the most brazen poseurs wild-eyed with nerves. For this is no homoerotic Shangri-La, just a sad, filthy, dangerous and — from the right vantage point — ravishingly beautiful place, where women are nowhere to be seen and men make their own companionship.
On the whole the British soldiers turn a blind eye to their charges’ love lives, except when openly propositioned. “They’re always flirting with us,” laughed one soldier. “They make it very obvious they want to have sex with us. It freaks us out. It isn’t just sex they want from us — it’s a bloody pen, or sweets or sunglasses, whatever we have."
Once cordial relations had been established with the western soldiers, the awkward attempts at affection would follow, sometimes simple gestures of gratitude for Isaf’s help, sometimes more. On one occasion, Symondson witnessed a British Army officer being asked by a local police commander if he would care to avail himself of his chai boy. Had he ever been interested, he inquired. It was quite good fun sometimes. “No, no,” responded the British officer, “I have a wife.” The Afghan smiled. “So do I,” he said."

From 'All's Fair In Love And War', a photo-essay on the Afghan National Police in The Sunday Times magazine. Words Christina Lam, Photographs Bran Symndson.

Fagburn is often surprised at how western journalists are often surprised at how Islamic cultures often condone homosexuality...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

MediaGuardian 100: Brûlé Gets His Fingers Burnt


Every year The Guardian compiles the MediaGuardian 100, their "annual guide to the most powerful people in television, radio, newspapers, magazines, digital media, media business, advertising, marketing and PR".
Perhaps surprisingly - as we are often told how gay-friendly and homocentric medialand is - there weren't that many out lesbians and gay men in this year's poll, published on Monday.
Fagburn was only sure about The National Theatre's Nicholas Hytner (39), Stephen Fry (64), Five's Dawn Airey (85), Lord Alli (88), and Glee's Jane Lynch (99).
Lots of media types would have been fuming at being left out - Fagburn was absolutely livid!
But MediaGuardian held out one last hope for us all - inviting readers to say who they thought should be the 101st person on the media power list.
Initially, MediaGuardian's Organ Grinder reported, Doctor Who's "showrunner" Stephen Moffat was leading handsomely.
"But Monocle founder and former Wallpaper editor Tyler Brûlé took the honours at the 11th hour after he received 160 votes in a 30-minute period just before the poll closed yesterday. Congratulations, Tyler! Or was it?
"An investigation revealed that Brulé's 160 last-minute votes were all cast from a single internet address. And the IP address corresponded to ... the London headquarters of Brûlé's publishing group, Winkreative."
Oops!
MediaGuardian then had to ask its readers another question about this high powered homo; "Should Tyler Brûlé get his just deserts after MediaGuardian 100 vote scandal?"

Channel Five: OK! TV + Gay TV?


Oh dear.
Richard Desmond has bought Channel Five for £103million.
"Dirty Des" is the (almost) billionaire publisher whose Northern and Shell company owns OK! magazine, and the frequently homophobic rags The Daily Express and The Daily Star.
Investigative journalist, Tom Bower (the author of an as yet unpublished biography of Desmond), is not alone in believing Desmond's past business dealings make him "unsuitable to own a TV channel."
Desmond will be asked to appear before parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee to explain his plans for the channel - rumour has it that it may be filled with celebrity tittle-tattle, a sort of OK! TV.
He has promised Channel Five "will not go downmarket", and said he's trying to buy in some big broadcasting brands; "We are talking to the Big Brother people, we're talking to the Coronation Street people, we're talking to Simon Cowell..."
And he's pledged to keep Five's chair and CEO, Dawn Airey - who's often dubbed "the most powerful lesbian in the media".
He also hinted that Katie Price might front a show or two.
Oh dear.
But this OK! TV could also be a little bit gay.
Richard Desmond is a businessman who didn't get where he is today by being averse to making money out of us mos.
Northern and Shell began publishing Attitude magazine back in 1994 - it's a matter of debate when NS finally cut its ties with the magazine, possibly only two or three years ago.
He also owns a lot of highly lucrative pay-to-view porn TV channels, including Gay TV.
Last year Gay TV were found by Ofcom to have breached broadcasting rules by screening free-to-view on air promotions (those ads you see for adult channels when you're channel hopping) in which - and I quote from the Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin - "Some of the male presenters spoke to camera fully naked with their genitals in full view and on occasion in close up. Brief but non-explicit sequences of sexual activity, where genitals were frequently and clearly visible, were also shown and on occasions the genitals were being handled. In addition, some explicit sexual language was used by the presenters. Examples included: I’m aching to show you all the big dicks we have…getting hard for you tonight… we will be unloading our balls all over big hot studs… it’s explicit sucking and fucking action… these boys are fresh and their cocks are throbbing to get some tight arse... it’s all about cock so come in and get some tonight… cock after cock after cock, giving and taking it until everyone blows their load."
Ofcom didn't let this little breach stand in the way of them giving Mr Desmond the green light to take over Channel Five.

Gay Priests Scandal: Full Story and Pics!!!!


Here is a link to the story, 'Le notti brave dei preti gay', ('The wild nights of the gay priests', I think) in the Italian magazine, Panorama, about the "double life" of gay priests in Rome.
Yes, the bizarro picture above is used on the magazine's front cover.
Can you believe it? Some Catholic clergy are gay!
And some of them go to gay bars and clubs and have sex!!!!
There are lots of undercover photos, and bits of video which you can watch and then pretend to be surprised - nay, shocked and scandalised!!!
The text is in Italian (obviously), but let's not pretend that most people are really only interested in the saucy pics.
If you are a words kinda person, I've posted a Google translation in the comments beneath this post.
Panorama is owned by that paragon of Christian virtue, the completely uncontroversial Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, by the way.

The Brokeback Coalition


The papers are all loving it this morning that David Davis, the former shadow home secretary and eternal Tory shit-stirrer, has allegedly called the Cameron-Clegg marriage of convenience "the Brokeback coalition".
The comment was made in a wine bar, but sounded like a saloon bar sneer.
Davis was only (allegedly) quoting a quip from Lord Ashcroft, and in the past almost every newspaper has light-heartedly compared Nick and Dave's relationship to a civil partnership (Cameron even made that "joke" himself).
The story was broken by The Financial Times; "Davis in ‘Brokeback’ jibe over coalition - Remark exposes rightwing frustration at government."
But the other newspapers seemed reluctant to speculate on what David Davis might actually mean by the comparison.
That even they think it's wrong and it's doomed to failure? ("I wish I could quit you!")
Or that Davis thinks it's rather queer and a bit "funny"?
"You know friend, this is a god damn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation..."

Friday, 23 July 2010

Andrew Pierce: The War Against Queens


Aren't gay men simply awful?
Andrew Pierce certainly thinks so.
And he should know - he is one.
He's also currently the pet homo in the house journal of the petit bourgeoisie, The Daily Mail.
Today he's explaining; "Why I, as a gay man, abhor these TV queens."
If the title sounds familiar, that may be because Pierce has also written for The Mail; 'Why I, as a gay man, support the Pope' (in opposing gay equality legislation).
Andrew Pierce, as a gay man, takes as his dual launching pads that Supreme Court judge's comment about the stereotype of gay men liking "Kylie and cocktails", and Stonewall's survey into TV watched by young people
"Which concluded that gays were mainly portrayed as promiscuous, predatory, or figures of fun..."
"Stonewall has a point," Pierce concedes, "but what they failed to acknowledge is that by far the greatest offenders in all this are our most prominent gay TV presenters and entertainers, who allow themselves to be portrayed as ridiculous camp sterotypes by executives who revel in the same hackneyed rubbish."
Gay men are - but of course - our own worst enemies. Silly us.
"It’s astonishing and offensive that, in a country which has made such remarkable and commendable strides forward in same-sex equality, TV producers still think that if a gay entertainer is not camp, lisping, effeminate and bitchy then they can’t be funny or interesting or popular."
It's certainly something to think about - why oh why are so many successful gay entertainers entertaining?
And why oh why are so many successful gay comedians funny?
Mr Pierce has his own roll call of gay shame.
Graham Norton - "a parody of a homophobe’s view of all gay men — with his mincing, ooh-missus act which he cranks up to an absurd degree of self-mockery... Much of his humour is simply, I’m sorry to say, just vulgar."
Then there's "prancing, preening fashion icon Gok Wan".
Julian Clary, "who has made an entire career out of making Larry Grayson look butch by comparison."
Clary, lest we forget, once made "a vile pre-watershed joke about a sexual act with the then chancellor Norman Lamont at a televised awards ceremony. (The joke, needless to say, made him the darling of The Guardianistas.)"
Hot on his heels came "mincing" Paul O’Grady, "simply by virtue of his alter ego, the crude drag queen Lily Savage, who made Coronation Street’s blowsy barmaid Bet Lynch seem cool and sophisticated."
He quotes Piers Morgan - approvingly - on Alan Carr; "He has quite possibly the most excruciatingly high-pitched, whiny, helium-fuelled, nasal, repugnant voice in the history of mankind."
And did you hear that Louie Spence on The Men's Hour?
"Spence presumably delighted the BBC by declaring in the first episode that he wishes he had slept around more when he was younger and then discussing the size of his penis. Classy stuff."

Poor old Andrew is rather tormented and affronted by all this TV poovery.; "Carr and his queeny TV cohorts merely reinforce outdated prejudices of gay men as simpering, soppy, superficial cissies."
"Not one of my gay friends is effeminate, speaks in high-pitched voices, frets endlessly about what to wear, listens only to songs from musical shows, and has dogs which you can fit into handbags."
And what a boring bunch of stuck-up fuck-ups they sound, Andrew.
"Most of them were just as interested in England’s World Cup campaign (more fool them!) as my straight friends and they worry far more about the state of the economy than over whether Kylie has found true love."
"They are, in other words, ordinary men, from all walks of life, and with all kinds of interests, who just happen to be gay. And like me, they are intensely irritated that the most prominent gay personalities on television are so absurdly atypical of the vast majority of homosexuals in the real world."
Mr Pierce seems blissfully unaware he's now walking through a quagmire of cliches.
These tired arguments have regularly appeared on the letters pages of the gay (and straight) press for the last 40 years.
The self-righteous "straight looking, straight acting" - and often self loathing - brigade; going on about how "We're not all limp-wristed screaming queens who like Judy Garland/Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer/Madonna/Kylie/Lady Gaga [delete to fit decade], you know? Some of us are real men. Men who just happen to be gay."
How very wonderful for you.
"So why are TV stars and the executives who hire them still locked in some sort of timewarp in their portrayal of modern gay men?"
One might also ask why newspaper editors keep publishing articles by gay men who go on and on about how dreadful they think other gay men are.
And why so many gay journalists who are regularly given space in the straight press are gay Uncle Toms who reinforce straight peoples' anti-gay prejudices.
And why so many of them are upper middle class gay men slagging off ordinary gay men who act... gay.
Of course what the likes of Andrew Pierce really can't stand is that he thinks so many of these queens are so common.
They're all so frightfully "vulgar", aren't they Andrew?
If only we could all be as "classy" as him.
But then what did you expect from The Daily Mail?
Even in an article by someone writing "as a gay man".

Gaydar: Do I Live In A Gaybourhood?


Seeing as Fagburn hasn't figured out how to break through The Times paywall yet, he may never know.

EDIT: I caved in!
And I found out I live in the second gayest Gaybourhood in the UK!
"Few pushchairs? Check. Great coffee bars? Check. A gay website has given Britain a breakdown of sexual orientations by postcode..."
"A new book is the first to “out” the UK’s gayest postcodes. They are BN1, BN2, SE1, E14 and SE11. That’s Brighton Central, Brighton Kemptown and the London boroughs of Vauxhall, Limehouse and Kennington. Of course, we had our suspicions — they were just that bit too lively, perhaps. Not the sort of places in which you could see yourself settling down. But now we know for sure, according to research published in The Big Book of Gaydar..."
The article is most concerned about how being a Gaybourhood can have a positive effect on house prices - "House prices in BN1 and BN2 have risen by 10 per cent in the past five years, compared with 5 per cent nationally, according to mouseprice.com." - mainly because all the Gaydar data can tell us is where their users are most heavily concentrated.
Fagburn's favourite reader comment; "What is the point of this article? The writer seems to assume that all 'gay' people waste their time on 'gaydar' and has drawn his conclusions from that. He should realise that all gay people are not bar-hopping, club-hopping, ghetto-living, sex-encounter obsessed, screaming clones. The vast majority of 'gays' are more discreet (not ashamed) ordinary blokes... I hope your readers are not misled into thinking that the only aspect of 'gay' peoples lives that is important to them is their sexual orientation. Most of the 'gay' people I know would avoid like the plague the likes of the writer of this article."
Maybe that was written by Andrew Pierce?

A Date with John Waters


There's a very enthusiastic book review of John Water's Role Models - perhaps surprisingly - in The Daily Telegraph today.
It's written by Tom Shone, a British journalist who's now quite a big fish in the Big Apple, and a novelist of some note.
The Telegraph clearly have a lot of time - and space - for Tom Shone.
They've also given him quite a wide berth - some of his review might make an old colonel choke on his kedgeree.
He eulogises at length about the divine Mr Waters and his role models; Tennessee Williams, Jayne Mansfield, Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo, Little Richard, and the Manson murderer Leslie Van Houten.
He even gets to drop lines like this one about the Mexican porn director Bobby Garcia, "a man who has blown hundreds and hundreds of really cute marines and lived to tell about it."
Which isn't the sort of thing you read most days in The Telegraph.
Role Models has just been published in the States.
Before they decided to run Tom Shone's glowing review the Telegraph might have wanted to check its UK publication date, which they say coyly at the end "will be published in Britain by Beautiful Books later this year."
Quite a bit later.
It's currently pencilled in for December 2010.
Can't wait.

Sherlock: Feel The Fury


'BBC's Sherlock Holmes Gay Subtext Sparks Fan Fury,' shouts The Daily Star today.
The new three-part series, Sherlock, starts on Sunday and was co-written by Mark Gatiss - the gangly gay one from out of The League of Gentlemen.
He's included a bit of knowing but gentle gay banter between Holmes and "My dear Watson".
Watson; “Do you have a boyfriend? Because that’s fine.”
Holmes; “I am married to my work but I am flattered you like me.”
Shocking stuff, isn't it?
One doesn't need to be a great detective to wonder if there was anything else going on between those "two gentlemen sharing."
The "gay subtext" has never been far from the surface - which is what Gatiss actually seems to be commenting on, the joke is that so many people think that they're a couple.
It was even in Guy Ritchie's recent movie, Sherlock Holmes.
"I think the word 'bromance' is so passé. We are two men who happen to be roommates who wrestle a lot and share a bed,' Robert Downey Jr quipped to David Letterman.
The Daily Star quote Gatiss saying matter-of-factly; "If you don’t like it it’s fine because the character is one of the most filmed ever so there’ll be another one along soon.”
But would this be enough to placate the "fan fury"?
Or more to the point, was there actually any?
The Star tracked down "Holmes fan Peter Stewart, 43, who organises detective book fairs"
He told them: “I don’t like the idea of a Sherlock Homo. That’s certainly not what Sir Arthur had on his mind.”
A line so painfully forced that one might deduce that a journalist had made it up.
Quotes from Sherlock Holmes that might throw some light on this story are legion, but let's go with this one; "Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different."

Rape, Murder, War Crimes Now All Okay - Official


Pope Benedict will not be issued with an arrest warrant during his state visit to the UK later this year.
Even though he's known to have been directly involved in the biggest child abuse cover-up in history, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke announced he's changing the rule book just for his holiness.
"The Government has concluded, after careful consideration, that it would be appropriate to require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction."
Simon Harwood, the police officer filmed assaulting Ian Tomlinson during last year's G20 protests in London will not be facing criminal charges over his death.
The Director of Public Prosecutions made the decision claiming there was "no realistic prospect" of the officer being convicted - despite the Crown Prosecution Service admitting there was sufficient evidence to bring a charge of assault against him.
The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was forced to clarify his position on the Iraq war yesterday after he told the House of Commons the invasion of Iraq was illegal.
International lawyers warned that if he didn't his statement could lead to Tony Blair facing charges in an international court.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Getting Older, Turning Lesbian: This Summer's Must-Have Feature

Partly prompted by the movie The Kids Are All Right - and Alison Goldfrapp and Mary Portas late lesbian blossomings, this summer there have been more than a few features like this one by Kira Cochrane in The Guardian.
'Why It's Never Too Late To Be A Lesbian - More and more women are discovering after years of marriage to men, and having had children, that they are lesbians. Were they always – or is sexuality more fluid?'
It's a pretty good one.
I just hope they don't turn into the lesbian journalistic equivalent of "Why a gay man is a girl's best friend" though...

My Wild Years


I think I'm slowly getting over
the fact my wild years may be over
but sometimes I think
if I want a boyfriend
then I'll have to become a drug dealer.

Barefoot Bandit: Bareback Black Back For Biopic


This great news just in!
According to Variety, Dustin Lance Black is set to write the script of a movie about Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit, for 20th Century Fox.
Fagburn likes Lance Black - who won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Milk (here's his acceptance speech) - almost as much as he likes Colt.
Dreamy Dustin had a little local difficulty involving a leaked video tape a year ago, but we're not going to dwell on that.
Though this post's title won't make any sense unless you know what it was. Sorry.
I'm not one to be judgmental - I think we're all allowed to fuck up big time from time to time.
And besides, one of the reasons I love Colton is he managed to make a career out of exactly that.
Maybe Dustin will gay the story up; make it a sort of Bareback's Barefoot Brokeback Mountain?
Anyway, something tells me this is slightly more likely to happen than that nonsense about Mickey Rourke playing Gareth Thomas earlier this week.
We also hope this news lifts the sprit of Harris-Moore who police brought back to Seattle today for his trial proceedings.
Our thoughts are with him at this difficult time.

Alyson Books: Book Ends?


An interesting story - Is Broke Regent Media Unloading Destitute Alyson Books? - from Queerty - who we should stress are hardly independent observers on this.
Alyson Books, "the world's oldest and largest publisher of LGBT literature", was founded by Sasha Alyson in 1980 - originally it specialised in LGBT-themed books for children.
It was bought by Regent Media/Here Media in 2008.
Regent/Here also own The Advocate, Out and gay.com
A few years ago gay.com could bankroll them all - it was the US equivalent of Gaydar; the most popular gay "dating" site by far.
They were making out like (bum) bandits!
Then American gay men defected en masse to Manhunt who were doing the same thing but much better, and the river of money slowed down to a trickle.
The Advocate and Out also started to really struggle financially when the recession began in 2007.
British gay publishers Brilliance Books, Third House, Gay Men's Press and Millivres Books have all closed down.
Harrington Park Press - publishers of famously bad "academic" LGBT titles - went tits-up in 2007.
Which means if Alyson goes under, apart from coffee table soft porn and one-handed reads, there will only be one gay publishing house left, Cleis Press.

Stonewall TV Survey: T.V.O.D.


Several papers have run stories on the new report from Stonewall, Unseen On Screen: Gay people on youth TV.
Well, actually most of them have just reprinted chuncks of the press release, as per.
Hey, let's give it a try - beats working.
"Groundbreaking research published today by Stonewall has found that ordinary gay people are almost invisible on the 20 TV programmes most watched by Britain’s young people. Just 46 minutes out of 126 hours of output showed gay people positively and realistically. Three quarters of portrayal was confined to just four C4 and ITV1 programmes: I’m a Celebrity…, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and How to Look Good Naked. BBC1 transmitted 44 seconds of positive and realistic portrayal of gay people in more than 39 hours of output."
"Young people from across Britain interviewed by researchers said that gay people on TV are largely stereotyped, leading unhappy lives, are bullied and rejected by their families. They also said they rely on TV to learn about gay people."
Fagburn is actually going to read the report - and suggests you do the same - he will get back to you presently.
You can download a copy here.